Monday, September 21, 2020

NYFF Shorts Section 1: Remains to Be Seen

Wading into what is marked as the first section of short films after doing two others I was struck by the notion that whoever collected the films into sections must have been on drugs. While the selection of films may link up thematically they really didn’t work together as a whole. I know it’s difficult to program films that work together but it takes a lot of work to get it right. The arrangement of the films here doesn't work with the result the films in the early films in the section are wiped from your memory once we get to the final film.

After the visually interesting but not adding up to much APPARITION there are three films that marry and repurpose images to a narrative track to explore various ideas. They are very much of a theme and while REVOLT WITHOUT IMAGES, UNTITLED SEQUENCE GAPS and THIS DAY ON'T LAST have moments they kind of blend together. I am not writing on them because the way they were programmed resulted in them being a big blur.

It’s a fact made worse when the final film, Jafar Panahi’s HIDDEN, starts and blows them away. Panahi’s small masterpiece is about the filmmaker and his family going to see a young Kurdish woman who has an incredible singing voice but is not allowed to use it. Traveling to a far off town they get the young woman to sing off camera. It’s an amazing piece of filmmaking that involves for most of it’s running time people sitting in a car talking. It’s a wonderful conversation that just makes everything truly magical. Frankly it’s a small gem and one of the early highlights of this year’s NYFF

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